DSC Teachers of the Year Take on Indianapolis

DeRuntz and Petro Represented DSC at the 2022 CFP National Championship

Caroline Dardeau, Editor in Sports

Duneland School Corporation teachers Robert DeRuntz and Cris Petro were recognized at the College Football Playoff National Championship last Monday, January 10. They were among the 18 teachers who received acknowledgement and recognition during the championship game, and participated in a weekend long summit in Indianapolis.

DeRuntz is a Chesterton High School history teacher and is the DSC 2020 Secondary Teacher of the Year and was among the Top Ten candidates for Indiana State Teacher of the Year in 2020.

Petro, a former Bailey Elementary fourth grade teacher, and now a Liberty Intermediate fifth grade teacher was also named the DSC Teacher of the Year in 2020, but her TOTY award was for Elementary educators.

DeRuntz and Petro were two of 18 educators who were nominated by their peers and communities across the state and joined 56 other State Teachers of the Year to participate in the Teacher of the Year Championship Experience at the College Football Playoff National Championship. During the weekend leading up to the championship, the teachers enjoyed a four-night-stay in Downtown Indianapolis, and took part in CFP Foundation events.

“We had great professional development, great speakers, and an opportunity to speak with the best teachers from all across the country,” DeRuntz said about the experience.

DeRuntz spoke extensively to Indiana Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner, and spoke several times to the US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cordona. He and Petro had the opportunity to speak to Natalie Grant who sang the National Anthem. At the summit Grant spoke with the teachers and sang a song her father and her love that closely relates to the situation, called “You Are Not Alone”.  He met former NFL Linebacker David Pollack, who played collegiately at Georgia, the new 2022 National Champions. Pollack is now an ESPN College Football analyst who took time to talk to the top tier educators at the event. 

The teachers then participated in the Extra Yard for Teachers Foundation’s Teacher Toss. In the event, the teachers were to throw a football at a target. For each teacher who successfully hit the target, money was donated to the foundation. Kirk Herbstreit, another analyst for ESPN’s College GameDay, and Marty Smith, an American sports journalist, threw the football. The two teamed up with Eckrich to accumulate a $300,000 donations for the Extra Yard for Teachers Foundations for the next generations of teachers to experience something like this. 

DuRuntz chose to become a teacher even though his counselor told him that he shouldn’t teach.  He chose this because he loved history, and he wanted students to understand the importance of history. Now, after 27 years and countless numbers of students, DeRuntz realized that the most important lessons have nothing to do with history. 

To close, DeRuntz  left us with something to think about: “Life lessons, about being generous, being thoughtful, being kind; about trying to be there for people in your life, trying to live in the moment and be present. You can make a difference everyday, every interaction is an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life whether it be big or small.”